Friday, January 23, 2015

Hartzler: I am willing to work with President Obama

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

This was a big week in Washington as President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, offering his vision for our country. In his speech he laid out a number of proposals and said that he is willing to work with Congress, especially in areas where we have bipartisan agreement. While he hasn’t shown that he is willing to do this so far and threatened several vetoes in his remarks, my colleagues in the House and I are certainly willing to work with him. In areas such as tax reform, trade expansion, and cybersecurity, we agree that something needs to be done; we just don’t always share the same vision as to how best to achieve true results.

The House Ways and Means Committee, for instance, is working diligently on creating a simpler, fairer tax code that aims to create jobs, grow the economy, and put money back in the pockets of the middle class – without increasing the deficit. Unlike the President’s plan, which targets a particular group to pay for more spending, this plan makes taxes simpler and fairer for families and employers, grows the economy, and puts money back in the pockets of the middle class.

In the House we have also already passed a number of bills, with bipartisan support, that would grow our economy and create jobs. Many of these bills were passed in the last Congress, too, only to be ignored by the Democrat-controlled Senate. I am hopeful that, with both chambers of Congress working to pass these bipartisan bills that reflect the will of the people, the President will keep to his word and work with us to help get America growing again.

The House Armed Services Committee held a briefing this week on the state of terrorism around the world with two retired generals and an academic professor sharing their expertise on this timely topic. In this sobering meeting it was clear that Islamic extremism is spreading throughout the world, contrary to the President’s claims this week.

Their comments were especially relevant, as late Thursday night we heard of the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the collapse of the Yemeni government. We have worked with both countries in efforts to stop terrorism and address the threat of Islamic extremism. This added instability in the region is very concerning. Rest assured, I will continue to monitor this situation closely in the days and weeks to come.

This week marked the somber anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has led to the deaths of tens of millions of babies who have been aborted throughout the country. As an original co-sponsor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, H.R. 7, I was proud to join my colleagues in the House as we voted to pass this bill that establishes a permanent ban on taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage.

It is wrong for the federal government to force American citizens to use their tax dollars to fund abortions. It is also wrong that ObamaCare provides for coverage of abortion and hides that information from American citizens as they make decisions on which policy best reflects their family’s needs and values. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted an independent report and found that more than 1,000 ObamaCare plans sold in 2014 included abortion coverage, yet that information was not disclosed. H.R. 7 addresses this wrong, also, by protecting Americans from inadvertently paying for abortions. It requires the ObamaCare exchanges to prominently display any information regarding abortion coverage and the amount of any abortion surcharge.

While abortion is a very controversial issue, reasonable people on both sides can agree that taxpayers should not have to pay for abortion services. I urge the Senate to join the House in protecting American taxpayers from any and all requirements that they spend their hard-earned dollars to fund abortion.

I also want to applaud the tens of thousands of pro-life crusaders, including hundreds from Missouri, who braved the brisk January temperatures to speak up for the unborn, as they took part in the 2015 March for Life. These dedicated advocates have been at the heart of much of progress we have made in reducing the number of abortions and promoting life. I share their appreciation that every life is a gift and look forward to continuing to champion the cause of life and of supporting any woman facing an unexpected pregnancy.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers over the passing of my mother, Ginny Zellmer. It means a lot to me and my family. She was a wonderful mother and friend to so many. I will forever be grateful for all the love and wisdom she poured into my life. While all who knew her will miss her, we will never forget the legacy of love, laughter, faith, and family she left for all of us. Thank you for all your support and prayers.

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